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It is an important time of year for upcoming ninth-grade students. They will soon be making a choice on which high school they wish to attend: McDowell High School, McDowell Early College or McDowell Academy for Innovation.

Some ninth-graders and their parents may not know about all their options or fully know understand how the three schools operate. This is why each school holds an open house for students to attend and view the school, according to Tracey Widmann, principal of McDowell Academy for Innovation.

McDowell High School’s open house will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. McDowell Early College’s open house will be on Monday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. and McDowell Academy of Innovation open house will be on Tuesday, Feb 4 at 6:30 p.m.

If parents of upcoming ninth-graders wish to know more about each of the high schools there will be parent meetings at each of the middle schools. West McDowell’s parent meeting will be this Thursday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. and East McDowell’s parent meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. These meetings are open to everyone. At the meetings, a PowerPoint presentation will describe each of the high schools and what each will have to offer for upcoming ninth-graders so students and their parents can decide on what will be the best fit for the student. Below is the link to PowerPoint presentation that will be available at the parents meetings:


After going to the open houses and getting more information about each of the high school options, all rising freshman will be able to fill out a universal application and decide on which high school they wish to attend, Widmann said. This universal application will go live and be available to be filled out on Thursday, Jan. 23. This application must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 14. McDowell Early College and McDowell Academy for Innovation will have their acceptance decisions made by Friday, Feb. 28, below is the link to the application:


For more information on any of the high schools, you can visit the McDowell County Schools website at https://mcdowell.k12.nc.us/ under the students tab and click on the HS Universal Application.

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